Istat, culture and tourism crisis is "dramatic": thousands of jobs lost

Half of the jobs lost in Italy in 2020 are in culture and tourism: according to Istat, the crisis in this sector, devastated by anti-Covid restrictions, is "dramatic."

It is decidedly bad news to learn fromIstat ’s memoir for the Supports Decree Law: theNational Institute of Statistics has presented a full-bodied document that focuses on some of the issues targeted by the Supports Decree, in which it takes stock of the situation and where one of the six chapters is specifically reserved for the area of culture and tourism. Meanwhile, the positive aspects: the outlook for the coming months is favorable (the Eurozome Economic Outlook predicts that from the second quarter of 2021 production rates in the euro area will be recovered, despite the framework of great uncertainty), and in Italy there are slight signs of recovery (exports in January were up compared to December, and the index of business confidence showed an improvement in March, continuing the recovery phase that began in November).

The sectors that fared worst, however, were precisely culture and tourism. The latter has been particularly affected by the closure of ski facilities, which has caused a slump in attendance in mountain-oriented municipalities: the 2020-2021 winter season saw a 93 percent drop from the previous year. But more broadly, comparing 2020 figures with those of 2019, the tourism sector, according to Istat, has “suffered a profound shock, with nearly 233.2 million fewer customer presences in accommodation establishments than in 2019 (a 53 percent drop).” The slump was mainly among foreigners, who fell by 70 percent, while Italian customers recorded a 36 percent drop. The hotel sector suffers the most: attendance in 2020 is just 43% of that of 2019 (while in the non-hotel sector the figure is slightly higher: 53%).

Then there is the deep crisis in entertainment: according to data from the SIAE Entertainment Observatory, the number of live performance events is down 69.3 percent in 2020 compared to 2019, admissions are down 72.9 percent (246 million in 2019), and box office spending has plummeted 77.6 percent (2.779 billion euros in 2019). “Even after the lockdown,” Istat notes, “many performing arts venues did not reopen their doors: overall, only 46,724 establishments held at least one event in 2020, compared to 94,687 in 2019; even during the summer recovery (June 15 to Oct. 25, 2020), the number of days was just over half (51.9 percent) of the same period in the previous year.” As for cinema, a 70.9 percent drop in admissions (104.4 million in 2019) and a 71.6 percent drop in box office spending (667.9 million in 2019). Theater had a 70.7 percent decrease in admissions and 78.5 percent decrease in box office spending, while concerts mark -83.2 percent on admissions and -89.3 percent on box office spending. In the sports event sector, Istat does not mince its words, speaking of a “dramatic” crisis: admissions are down 77.5 percent (30.8 million in 2019) and box office spending is down 84 percent (501.6 million in 2019). As for exhibitions, 77.9 percent drop in audiences (26.4 million admissions in 2019) and ticket revenue decreased by 76.7 percent (€196.1 million in 2019).

Very heavy, therefore, the situation in the labor market in the tourism and culture sector, “dramatically affected by the crisis,” Istat reports. Meanwhile, data from 2019: then there were 1 million 647 thousand employed in the tourism sector (7.1 percent of the total employed in Italy), while culture involved 636 thousand employed (2.7 percent of the total). Included among tourism employees are those working in air transportation, hotels and vacation lodging, camping, travel agencies and tour operators as well as reservation services, but also those working in “partially tourist” activities such as intercity rail transportation, cab transportation and car rental, maritime and coastal transportation, inland waterway transportation, restaurants and bars, car rental, and sports equipment rental. On the other hand, professionals employed in the printing and reproduction of recorded media, film production, video, television programs, music recordings, creative artists, entertainers, workers in libraries, archives, museums and other cultural activities are considered cultural workers, makers of musical instruments, designers, photographers, translators and interpreters, jewelers and goldsmiths, booksellers, newsagents and stationers, music and video sellers, publishers of books, newspapers and magazines, publishers of computer games, news agencies, architectural firms, videotape and record rentals.

The majority of those employed in tourism, Istat points out, work in “partly tourism” sectors (they are 79.8 percent of the total, while the remaining 295,000 employed work in strictly tourism sectors). “In 2020,” Istat explains about the contractual composition of workers in the sector, “tourism shows a higher share of term employees and self-employed than that recorded for the total economy: the former are about one-fifth (20.3 percent compared to11.7 percent) and the latter almost one-third of the total (31.8 percent versus 22.5 percent). Part-time work is also more widespread (27.9 percent versus 18.5 percent of the total employed), which in more than seven out of ten cases is of the involuntary type carried out, that is, due to lack of opportunities for full-time employment.” The situation in the culture sector is different, which, the institute explains, “is characterized by a high presence of self-employed people who account for more than half of the sector’s employees (54.3 percent compared to 22.5 percent of total employment), skilled occupations (67.2 percent compared to 35.8 percent) and, above all, college graduates (43.5 percent compared to 24.1 percent).” The cultural sector is mainly made up of small and very small units: 97.8 percent of the sector’s enterprises are micro-enterprises with less than 10 employees: these account for 64.7 percent of the total workforce, 41.2 percent of value added and 34.5 percent of turnover. The average size of cultural enterprises is smaller than the average of all Italian enterprises: 2 employees compared to 3.8 for the total average (enterprises with 0-1 employees include 81 percent of cultural enterprises employing 38.6 percent of the workforce and realizing 23.1 percent of value added and 16.1 percent of turnover).

The health emergency from Covid-19 has “hit these sectors hard,” Istat explains: the tourism sector lost 187 thousand employees (11.3 percent decline) and the culture sector 33 thousand (5.2 percent decline). These are much higher than the national average calculated for all sectors (-2 percent). Finally, Istat calculates that jobs lost in tourism and culture account for about half of all employment lost between 2019 and 2020, which amounts to 456 thousand people out of work.

Istat, culture and tourism crisis is
Istat, culture and tourism crisis is "dramatic": thousands of jobs lost

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